THE HAPPENSTANCE ARCHWAY
Client: Zise Two, Brighton & Hove City Council
Zize Developers, Brighton Hove City Council and Kings Education announced that Alter & Company the winner of The Level Park national arts commission. The competition was organised to commission an attractive archway suitable for pedestrian access to the south end of The Level Park. “Our approach to the design has been to embed the vast amount of history and memories collected of The Level over the past 300 years into a beautiful piece of interactive art that becomes a multi faceted narrative. The characteristic Elm trees that surround the park and the entrance provide shade and an intimate dappled atmosphere. Their presence deeply informed the design of our proposal, the ‘Happenstance Archway’. The idea of reflecting the shape of the overhanging trees at the entrance is that of an organic archway growing out from the existing elements of the park. There is also an integral notion in the aging of the leaves, they begin to lose bits of their fabric and holes are left that physically become a memory of what used to be.” Why is this relatively small piece of urban design so important, because it informs a landmark a place or remembrance and local identity through a cultural focus on the importance of our public environments that have always brought us together in varied complexities. “The materiality of the archway is mirrored stainless steel, reflecting its surroundings and people passing by, bringing the entirety of the park closer to you and becoming an extension of the story. It is a place to pause and from which you can observe your surroundings. As you look closer the metal perforations make up names and faces of historical figures that have importance to The Level and Brighton, enabling two time periods to exist simultaneously; the present and past. The perforations in the metal let dappled light in and an illusive play between light and shadows create an alluring quality with a strong sense of place and identity”
"Alter & Company's response to our open brief to design a new, contemporary and inclusive entranceway to the Level Park in Brighton was exactly right — it was dynamic, reflecting the demographic who use the space, but retained reference to the long history of the park. It was clear that Alter & Company were passionate about the space and the project, they were responsive and professional at all times, and a pleasure to work with"
James Allwright, Head of Branding and Design, Kings Education